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Recent Publications

“Covid-19 Vaccination Skeptics”

May 24, 2020

Vaccination campaigns will face an uphill battle with some skeptics. According to the authors of one preliminary study, which surveyed a demographically representative sample population of 493 US adults, about one-quarter of adult Americans (23%) said they’ll refuse to get a COVID-19 vaccination when one becomes available. Nearly one-fifth (19%) of respondents characterized themselves as being skeptical of vaccines. Of these, 62% said that they would not get the COVID-19 vaccine. About one-sixth (16%) of all respondents specifically self-identified as anti-vaxxers. Although most people said they do plan to get the vaccine (when available), the number of those who said they will not get it may be high enough to threaten the nation’s collective immunity. People who hold anti-vaccine beliefs may jeopardize the effectiveness of a COVID-19 vaccine once it is available, due to issues of noncompliance. But these results did not really surprise the investigators. Although the investigators expected such a response, what surprised them was the number of people who said they would reject COVID-19 vaccination even though they are not vaccine skeptics. If someone is already biased against vaccines, the medical establishment, etc., then they will keep these biases, and be skeptical of medical expertise or other established experts. Surprisingly, 15% of people who are at least somewhat supportive of vaccines said that they would not get the COVID-19 vaccine.

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“Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Affects Memory in Adults”

May 17, 2020

Usually, we associate memory problems with Alzheimer’s disease. An estimated 5.5 million people have Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Alzheimer’s will claim 14 million victims by 2050. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that gradually destroys brain tissue and people’s ability to remember, think, communicate, and lead independent lives. It is the most common form of dementia. However, some older adults with attention and memory problems can have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Some may be surprised to learn that ADHD causes impaired memory symptoms. Researchers have shown that symptoms of ADHD can carry over into adulthood for two-thirds of patients who had ADHD as children. ADHD is also one of the most heritable health disorders, meaning that someone with ADHD may have a parent, grandparent, or sibling with the disorder. According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, the overall prevalence of ADHD in US adults aged 18-44 years is 4.4%, with a higher prevalence among men (5.4%) than women (3.2%). Researchers suggested that the prevalence of ADHD symptoms declines to 1.0% to 2.8% in the most elderly. The differential diagnosis for older-age ADHD is long and includes mild cognitive impairment, dementia, other neurodegenerative disorders, polypharmacy, sleep disturbances, chronic pain, and difficulties with vision/hearing. ADHD could, therefore, be mistaken for one of these other conditions.

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“Three Common Habits That Can Be Harmful”

May 10, 2020

Many of us have overlooked health habits that can be harmful and should be avoided. Certain bad habits can lead to poorer lifestyle behaviors over the long term. Current events involving the coronavirus pandemic have taught us to be more vigilant in adhering to good hygiene practices when it comes to our interactions with others. But it is also important to be cognizant of smaller, more personal bad habits that we may fall prey to in our everyday lives. Here are three overlooked, but potentially harmful, health habits to avoid.

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“Coronavirus Will Change Our Lives In Many Ways”

May 03, 2020

COVID-19 will affect significant changes in our lives in many ways and forever into the future.  We are only 45+ days into the shut-down in an attempt to mitigate the dangers of the viral disease.  Yet, we are on the brink of financial disaster, long-term depression, and unbelievable interruptions into our previous daily routines.  It is touching all aspects of our lives.  Many facets of our society will become faint reminders of our past.  Even after the virus is contained, we will not return to what was considered to be “normal.”  Let’s look at some of the more familiar things to change.

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“Sleeping Well in the Time of Coronavirus”

Apr 19, 2020

With all of the uncertainties in this chaotic and difficult pandemic time, it is important to try to get some restful sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), as many as one-third of Americans do not get the recommended seven to eight hours per night. It is a good time to review what to eat and what to avoid for better sleep. According to the NSF, certain foods and beverages can actually help you sleep. They include: Warm milk and herbal teas. The traditional standard of warm milk still holds up today. Some researchers have shown an association between milk’s tryptophan and melatonin content and better sleep. In addition, caffeine-free herbal teas like chamomile, valerian, or passionflower can be just plain relaxing, especially if they are included in your nightly bedtime ritual. Cottage cheese. Because it’s high in lean protein, cottage cheese contains tryptophan, an amino acid known to increase serotonin levels. And, it’s even better if you put some raspberries on top, because they’re rich in melatonin. Nuts. For a quick, pre-bedtime snack, nuts are a good option because they contain melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating sleep.

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“Common Sense and the coronavirus (COVID-19)”

Apr 12, 2020

Aerosols are particles small enough to travel through the air. Ordinary speech creates significant quantities of aerosols from respiratory particles. Normal speech by individuals who are asymptomatic but infected with coronavirus may produce enough aerosolized particles to transmit the infection. The louder one speaks, the more particles are emitted and some individuals are “super emitters”. Thus, we need special separation from other individuals during this crisis, which may be more than six feet. Additionally, people should wear face coverings made of bandanas, scarves, or other fabric, and Science reports that the CDC is recommending that all people in the United States wear cloth facemasks in public. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that larger respiratory droplets expelled when infected people cough or sneeze is the primary means of transmitting the coronavirus. Surgical masks worn by sick patients have reduced the detection of coronavirus RNA in both aerosol and droplet transmission forms. Some Indonesian, Turkish and Mexican countries have resorted to “mass disinfections” to combat the coronavirus but it is posing another health hazard. Images of plumes of disinfectant spray, fired from trucks into the air or from spray guns on to roads have riled health experts.

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“Rarely Known Facts on Face Masks and Coronavirus (Covid-19)” Health

Apr 04, 2020

Health officials push the wearing of masks and gloves to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).  Shockingly, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that health workers worldwide will need at least 89 million masks every month to treat COVID-19 cases. There are already shortages of masks for medical professionals around the world, a problem that will likely get worse. Further, the World Health Organization’s advice has remained unchanged since the start of the global outbreak: wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and keep your distance. The WHO says it is advisable to wear a protective mask in public if you suspect you are infected or someone you are caring for is, in which case the advice is to stay home whenever possible. However, there are limits to how a mask can protect you from being infected and experts recently said that, “Wearing masks and gloves as a precaution against coronavirus is ineffective, unnecessary for the vast majority of people, and may even spread infections faster.” But this message has reached very few people. As well as diminishing stocks sorely needed by medical professionals, experts say masks can give people who wear them a false sense of security.  Many people who wear them don’t follow the official advice of washing their hands thoroughly first, ensuring it’s airtight and not to touch it once it’s on.

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“Coronavirus (COVID-19) Special Points of Interest”

Mar 29, 2020

First, what is a virus and is it alive? Viruses are not “alive” but can be considered pseudo-alive because they require a host cell to begin to function. They use DNA or RNA to pass information to the next round of viruses their host cells make for them. Once inside us, a virus literally hijacks the genetics of our cells. A virus needs to get its genetic material, called a viral genome, into the host cell. This is either DNA or RNA, and for COVID-19 it’s RNA. Then it uses the machinery of the cell to make viral proteins and more copies of itself. Some scientists use benign viruses to carry modified genes to targeted cells as a way of doing gene therapy. A virus usually enters the cell through a protein our cells have on their surface. COVID-19—and SARS before that—use a protein called ACE2, which is on the surface of the cells in our lung, throat and intestinal tract. The COVID-19 virus is a ball with a protein called the spike protein that sticks out all around the virus and looks like a solar corona or a king’s crown. Coronaviruses only infect mammals and birds and there were six that could infect humans before COVID-19. Four cause mild symptoms, like a cold and COVID-19 is the seventh coronavirus and the deadliest by far. Our bodies have not been exposed to it before and have no immunity towards it. Our cells are duped into becoming a slave to the virus. The viral proteins assemble into new “baby viruses.”

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“Chest Pain Should Be Taken Seriously”

Mar 15, 2020

Heart disease is your greatest health threat and is a greater danger than breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men. According to the American Heart Association, more than 15 million people have heart disease and it is the leading cause of death in the United States. Most people experience chest pain at some point, but how do you know if it is a heart attack or simply heartburn or anxiety? The discomfort could be caused by other urgent conditions, as well as less serious issues that may point to a chronic medical problem. When it comes to chest pain the usual suspects include coronary artery blockages, high blood pressure, and heart valve or rhythm disorders. But there are plenty of other potential suspects. In the United States, nearly 6% of emergency room patients report chest pain. More than half of those cases involve non-cardiac chest pain, or NCCP, that is caused by heartburn, anxiety or other issues. A staggering 80% of patients who complain of chest pain during primary care visits are simply experiencing NCCP. But, the National Institutes of Health estimates that as many as 25% of emergency room patients with chest pain have acute coronary syndrome (ACS), a condition that reduces blood flow to the heart.

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“Five Most Popular, Doctor-Recommended Diets”

Mar 08, 2020

Diets come and go. Some trending diet plans are nothing more than fads with little scientific support. Overall, a careful scientific analysis of both traditional and nontraditional diets shows that neither can guarantee long term weight loss. In short, most people who lose weight, after a while, tend to return to their same old diet and habits that caused their weight gain in the first place. Seventy percent of American adults are overweight and more than 35% are obese. According to a physician survey, these are the top five diets that doctors recommended. A 2016 study found that the Mediterranean diet, with its emphasis on healthy fats, leads to greater long-term weight loss than a traditional low-fat diet. The Mediterranean diet, which is heavy in fruits, vegetables, fish, whole grains, and healthy unsaturated fats (olive oil), and low in processed foods, red meat, and saturated and trans fats, has confirmed health benefits by many studies. Compared with the other diets, doctors overwhelmingly (51%) chose the Mediterranean diet as their favorite one for long-term optimal health. Researchers have consistently shown that the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases and overall mortality. Researchers attributed this finding to a greater intake of plant foods, whole grains, and fish, a moderate alcohol intake, and a low intake of red and processed meats. About 1 in 6 doctors (16%) recommend the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet for long-term optimal health, the goal of which is to lower blood pressure, largely by limiting foods with sodium. Developed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the DASH eating plan also emphasizes less added sugars, fats, and red meats than the typical American diet, but it requires more meal planning in advance.

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